Do Trainers Need Specialized Training?

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Many trainers have experience with stretching and feel it appropriate to transfer this knowledge to their clients through the “describe, demonstrate, monitor, and correct”� training method. In this scenario, the trainer typically isn’t putting their hands on the client.

However, we’ve all seen trainers performing stretches on clients and doing it poorly. This improper application of stretches is what fuels the controversy over trainer-assisted stretching.

Keats Snideman, personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach, and licensed massage therapist in Chandler, AZ , shares my view that trainers do need specialized training to safely and effectively stretch their clients.

Know more about us at 

He says, “If a fitness professional is well versed in anatomical and neurophysiological sciences, and has hands-on training from reputable resources, a personal trainer or strength coach is qualified to apply rational and appropriate assistance to clients for improving range of motion, reducing excessive neuromuscular tone, and promoting a general ease and reduction of body tension.

However, this is a big ‘if’ since many trainers and coaches aren’t well versed in these sciences nor are they trained adequately in how to properly administer and apply these techniques. There’s an “art”� to the gentle handling of the human body with manual methods and it takes time to develop these skills. When the body is forced to move into ranges beyond its current adaptability, bad things can happen.”�

Know more about us at 

 There are plenty of opportunities for trainers to learn specialized stretching techniques to use with their clients, the best being face-to-face workshops with plenty of supervised practice. In many cases, a certification process is available for the trainer who wants to specialize in a particular flexibility technique.

Trainer-assisted stretching generally falls into three categories:

1. Passive stretching — Where the trainer does all the work to stretch the client. Passively stretching clients presents the most risk for overstretching and possibly injuring a client.

2. Active Isolated stretching (AIS) — Trainer-assisted or passive stretching. AIS is an active form of stretching and this significantly reduces the chance of injury. There’s a passive component to AIS that can be performed too aggressively and therefore increases the risk of client injury.

3. PNF stretching — Where the trainer directs the client to engage the target muscle group isometrically before the stretch. PNF stretching can be performed actively or passively.

Facilitated stretching (my specialty) is a version of PNF that’s the least likely to cause an overstretch injury because the client actively stretches the target muscle group after the trainer-assisted isometric contraction. The trainer rarely adds any passive stretch.

Personal trainers should take it upon themselves to be aware of the various styles of stretching and to improve their skills in this area through appropriate education/certification before incorporating trainer-assisted stretches into their programs.

Once properly trained, they’ll be acting within their scope of practice, and they’ll be unlikely to injure a client while helping to improve their overall flexibility and range-of-motion.

They’ll also have happier clients.

Know more about us at 

BFY provides training for Personal Trainers and courses in Sports nutrition and Diet in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Dehradun, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gurgaon.

BFY also provides Placements Services in India.